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Human Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults

In 1979, researchers had finally been able to discover a method which would allow them to eventually produce human growth hormone in massive quantities. This technique involved recombinant DNA technology which would result in a biosynthetic human growth hormone. Pharmaceutical companies like Eli Lilly and Genetech immediately jumped on the bandwagon. Six months after the FDA ordered the removal of the pituitary derived versions of the human growth hormone, they approved the biosynthetic injectable form of HGH, with a caveat. That caveat stated that the product was only to be used for the purposes of treating children who were unable to naturally produce enough of the hormone on their own and were therefore at risk for stunted growth and dwarfism.

In the last twenty-five years, since the breakthrough discovery of the biosynthetic human growth hormone, there have been many contemplations regarding how this treatment could be applied in other medical situations.

While human growth hormone deficiency problems have long been recognized in children, only recent years have such issues present in adults come to attention. Usually in the cases of adults, the problem more lies in a decrease of the production of human growth hormone. This decrease can contribute to a number of serious medical conditions, including a weakened heart rate and weakened heart muscle contraction rate. Other problems such as increased arterial plaque, raised blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides may also be present when levels of the human growth hormone become decreased in adults. This can also lead to abnormal body compositions which results in osteoporosis, increased fat mass and decreased lean body mass. Adults who suffer from a decrease in the human growth hormone may find that they have poor sleep quality, frequent headaches, poor concentration and are generally weak, listless and have no desire for social contact with others. Individuals suffering from a human growth hormone may also notice that they moods and emotion are often effected. Other symptoms of such a deficiency include a decreased sexual desire, anxiety, shyness, depression and weight gain.

Adult human growth hormone deficiency is generally related to a lack of somatotropin. While it can be difficult to diagnose a human growth hormone deficiency in children, it is even more difficult to do so in the cases of adults. An accurate diagnosis may require repeated blood draws and a period of observation. The physician will generally be very interested in any growth problems the patient might have experienced as child when attempting to make a determination regarding a human growth hormone deficiency.

An adult may appear to have a human growth hormone deficiency, known as hypopituitarim, either from a congenital problem that was present from before they were born or from an issue that occurred at a later time. Causes of acquired hypopituitarism include inflammation of the pituitary gland, autoimmune diseases and disorders and situations in which the pituitary gland had to be surgically removed. Radiation therapy can also contribute to damage to the pituitary gland, resulting in acquired hypopituitarism